My take on an old trope inspired by a very small part of a song.
Warning: It's fluffy.
It's like you never changed.
The words she'd slung at him earlier in the day were spinning around in her mind, making her dizzy as she walked through the streets of the city, her arms folded across her chest as she dug her chin into her scarf, the wind whipping her hair in front of her face.
They had been fighting. God knows that she doesn't even remember about what. But they had been arguing, and she'd gotten hostile, and she said things she wasn't sure she really meant but was pretty sure she didn't while he just stood there and took it.
We've got the most screwed up relationship in the world, Castle! Just look at how we started.
Over murder and handcuffs and politically supported stalking dolloped with pride, cockiness, and a good dash of jackass.
And he'd tried to defend them and she left, storming out of the loft and god why did she do that? The loft where it was warm and she was wanted and loved that really felt like home and why did that still terrify her so much? It shouldn't, right? He loved her, loves her. He makes her feel safe.
That's not something to be afraid of.
She tilted her chin upwards, breathing in the cloudy, autumn sky and letting out a sigh, her exhale just barely visible in the space in front of her. She shivered as she focused ahead of her, the cold seeping through her fall jacket, focusing on the street ahead of her. She noticed the sign for the café in front of her, her body automatically warming at the thought of a cup of coffee, and she dug into the pocket of her peacoat, hoping that her memory was correct and she did shove her change into this coat when she had bought coffee the other day and not her slacks. She smiled slightly as the dollar bills crinkled in her hand, moving towards the coffee shop with a purpose.
Maybe coffee would help settle her.
There was a line, the rest of New York following her train of thought, and she waited patiently as she shoved her hands in her pockets, absorbing the warmth of the café.
Kate gave the barista her order and waited for her pumpkin spice latte that she didn't normally indulge in but had ordered anyway, simply because it felt wrong to order her usual without Castle there to share it with her.
She felt her stomach twist in her gut again.
She really messed this up again, didn't she?
She sighed, shaking her head at herself as she thanked the woman behind the register, taking her coffee with a small, forced smile and dropping her change into the tip jar. Kate turned around, both hands wrapped around the coffee cup as she turned to exit the coffee shop -
And then promptly ran into someone.
He was bigger than her, his head bent forward, looking at his phone, clearly not paying attention to where he was going.
She gasped in surprise, dropping her cup on the ground between them, spilling some on her hand. She hissed at the heat, looking quickly to see the coffee dotting the sleeve of her coat.
"Oh!" the man said, turning towards her, "I'm so sorry!"
He looked up at her, and Kate startled at the familiar blue eyes, looking at him with a furrowed brow.
He'd changed from when she saw him earlier, out of his slacks and into a fading pair of jeans, sneakers on his feet. He was wearing a Columbia hoodie underneath his well-worn leather jacket, his hair falling forward onto his face.
He looked… average.
He'd… followed her?
He ignored her, reaching out and grabbing a handful of napkins from the dispenser on the counter, fumbling with them as he moved back towards her, mumbling apologies.
"I'm really sorry," he said, handing her a stack before he kneeled down and began wiping up the floor, "that was entirely my fault."
"Uh… it's okay?" she said, wiping the warm coffee off of her hands, dabbing at her jacket, frowning when the spots didn't go away completely.
What the hell, Castle?
"Please," Castle said, looking at her from the floor as he finished wiping up the floor, a wed of dirty napkins and her coffee cup in his hands, "let me buy you another cup of coffee."
She looked at him, her mouth parting in confusion and he stood up gestured for her to wait for a moment as he rushed over and threw away the trash before walking quickly back towards her. She looked up at him in confusion, opening her mouth to ask him what was going on before he started speaking again.
"It's the least I can do," he said quietly, his eyes pleading with her to go along with it so she nodded, albeit a bit apprehensively, and went to stand back in the now shorter line.
He looked at her for a moment as they stood in line, before he smiled slightly, holding out a hand tentatively.
She felt her heart clenching in her chest.
She took a deep breath, grabbing his hand in her own and shaking it lightly.
"Kate," she said softly, "I'm Kate."
He smiled at her, squeezing her hand lightly before letting it drop.
"It's nice to meet you, Kate. Now, what are you drinking?"
Maybe if we met a different way we wouldn't be such a disaster.
When he bought her coffee, he insisted they stay, so they ended up at a two person table in the corner of the warm shop, both still bundled up in their winter coats, talking until their cardboard coffee cups long ceased to provide any sort of comforting heat.
He asked her about her job, looking genuinely interested when she replied that she was a detective, asking stupid questions that made her laugh because she was going to play along with him until he made the next move (because if he followed her here, he had a plan, and after what she said earlier, the least he deserved was her cooperation.)
He said he was a writer, modestly ducking his head when she asked if he was any good, saying he'd gotten very lucky.
He didn't ask about her family, but he asked about her friends, asking almost nervously if they would arrest him for clumsiness and potentially ruining her jacket, making her smile. He told her he had a daughter, lived with his mother. He listened when she told him that she liked to run and read, nodded along as if filing the information away for later when she told him her favorite coffee order, laughed right along with her, teasing her as they went through a rapid-fire game of 20 questions.
He was sincere, thoughtful; adorable.
So unlike how he was the first they met.
(Exactly as he is now.)
"I don't mean to sound presumptuous," he said, ducking his head for a moment before looking back up at her, "but has anyone ever told you that you have gorgeous eyes?"
She felt her heart beat faster in her chest, her stomach swelling with those irrepressible flutters that had coursed through her the same way they had the first time he said them.
All those years ago in an interrogation room with a case file for a murdered woman between them.
She felt her eyes well up with tears.
It didn't make a damn difference.
Sometimes she could be so goddamn stupid.
She bit her lip, closing her eyes for a moment before she looked back up at him, exhaling unsteadily.
"Was this your plan?" she asked quietly, smiling at him, not even bothering to blink away the moisture in her eyes.
"My plan is to make you happy," he said simply, shrugging his shoulders, his fingers plucking hers off of her coffee cup and holding it on the table. She looked at their hands, flipping hers over so she could lace their fingers together, palms touching. He squeezed them gently.
"I'm sorry," she murmured, shaking her head, "I'm so sorry."
"I'd still love you," he started, his voice low and sincere, "no matter how we met. And I'm going to spend every day reminding you why we aren't a disaster, and this isn't a mistake, no matter how much we drive each other insane," he leaned forward, his other hand reaching out to cover their clasped hands, "but I need to know that you believe that, too."
She lowered her gaze for a moment at the intensity of his stare, before she forced her eyes back up to his. She let the corners of her lips tilt up slightly at the love in his eyes, determined to try and stop hiding from it.
She may not be ready to say the words, but she would try to get there.
"You know," she said, gesturing towards their clasped hands, "I don't typically hold hands on the first date."
She watched his eyes light up, reveled in the way they sparkled at her across the table and the boyish smile overtook his face as he got her meaning.
She knew he would.
"Oh really?" he said, his voice dancing through the air between them, "Why the exception?"
She looked back down at their hands, moving her thumb so it could brush against the skin on the side of his thumb, before she moved her eyes back up to him, positive that she was doing nothing to stop the warmth from seeping out of them.
If she couldn't say it directly, she could still show it.
"I've got a good feeling about you."
Even after all these years
we just now got the feeling that we're meeting
for the first time...
Go listen to Boyce Avenue's cover of this song it's perfect in every way.
And I'd love to know what you think. I don't usually write such... fluff.